Portillo's execs call IPO a success

  • Daily Herald file photoPortillo's Hot Dogs Restaurant plans to build more restaurants around the country like this one in Vernon Hills after Thursday's IPO.

    Daily Herald file photoPortillo's Hot Dogs Restaurant plans to build more restaurants around the country like this one in Vernon Hills after Thursday's IPO.

 
 
Updated 10/21/2021 6:47 PM

Portillo's executives labeled the company's initial public offering Thursday a success, saying it is a "first step for us in a long-term journey."

Chief Financial Officer Michelle Hook said Portillo's will use money raised from its public offering on the NASDAQ to pay down debt and "to have even more free cash flow as we want to dial up growth."

 

Trading under the ticker symbol PTLO, Portillo's opened 30% above its IPO price of $20 a share, reaching a high for the day of $31.57 before closing at $29.10. The company reportedly raised more than $405 million with the IPO, offering more than 20 million shares of common stock.

Chief Operating Officer Derrick Pratt said the company hopes to grow the number of restaurants in the chain by 10% a year. He said 52% of Portillo's restaurants are in the Chicago area.

The Oak Brook-based company has 67 restaurants in nine states and will look to expand across the country. Hook said there really is no competitor that has a menu and price point like Portillo's.

"There is nobody that does what we do nationally," she said.

The company has no plans to move from Oak Brook, Hook added.

For the 12 months ending in June, Portillo's reported 825,000 guests served at each restaurant, on average. It had adjusted EBITDA margins of 28.6% and $4.9 million in drive-through sales per restaurant, which it said is more than triple the average of McDonald's. It also had $1.9 million in dine-in sales per restaurant.

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Pratt said the company relies on a culture of taking care of its people and having fun in its restaurants.

"It allows us to get through tough times that I know other restaurants across the industry are feeling today," he said, acknowledging the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national worker shortage and national supply-chain difficulties. "But we've been able to kind of work through it because we've adhered to who we are and what we believe as an organization. So this is an exciting time for us because we believe that's our secret sauce."

Portillo's did have some labor problems this summer when employees at its Addison food preparation facility walked off the job, asking for better pay and safer working conditions.

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